How to Organize a B2B Marketing Department in 2013

Today Rand Fishkin published a post in which he suggested companies start thinking in terms of inbound marketing rather than SEO. Here is an excerpt:

“But, I think there’s already a trend among early adopters to expand their job descriptions and earn more responsibility and influence in areas that have a significant impact on SEO – social media, PR, contente, etc.

“The only term I’ve seen that potentially rivals ‘inbound marketing’ is ‘growth hacker,’ but that’s confined to only the most hardcore Silicon Valley cultures and companies, and the definition seems far less clear. Still, it”s my guess that either or both of these terms will make a more serious showing in job profiles and listings in 2013.” — Rand Fishkin

Smart B2Bs will be hard at work reorganizing their marketing departments in 2013. Marketing activities such as social media, SEO and content marketing have become so intertwined it is hard to tell where one discipline stops and the next one starts.

Firms that have stovepiped these activities will increasingly see results diminish. Integration is key … but how do you integrate?

Framework and Goals

It may be helpful to think about your marketing organization in terms of inbound marketing and outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is all about getting your name in front of people and drawing them into your website or some other means of making contact. It involves SEO, social media, content marketing, permission email marketing (the only kind!) and blogging. A strategy, staff and process can be built around these activities.

Outbound marketing involves activities like pay-per-click advertising, print advertising and telemarketing. Again, a coherent and comprehensive strategy can be built around these activities that are executed by a dedicated staff through a defined process.

The goals of inbound marketing can include lead generation, brand awareness, brand affinity and thought leadership. Outbound marketing can also serve these purposes, but most often, outbound activities are tied most closely with lead generation or direct order placement.

Important Organizational Issues

  • Where does public relations fit in? To me, public relations is a branch of content marketing. Obviously, PR has to do with publishing content. Additionally, the usual goals of PR are quite similar to inbound marketing, even though the media and techniques used by PR professionals differ from what social media-oriented content marketers gravitate to.
  • Where does trade show marketing fit in? That’s a tough one, because a trade show booth is physically outbound! At the same time, the goals of trade show participation can have everything to do with lead generation … or very little. All other things being equal, I’d probably put trade show marketing in the outbound bucket because it is so closely tied to sales. What do you think?
  • Where does sales collateral fit in? Brochures, slide presentation and video are vital for sales reps, so in that respect, creating these things has a distinct outbound flavor. Just the same, assigning these activities to the inbound group may lead to more effective materials. Often, content marketers are able to produce highly persuasive collateral because they have some distance from the sales trenches and know how to apply proven communication principles to the materials.

Over to You

How is your marketing organization adapting to today’s changing environment? What are the most important changes you need to make?

(Image Credit: © Levente Janos –

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